This is the final part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Cardinals matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m., University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
49ers WR Anquan Boldin vs. Cardinals CB Antonio Cromartie
Tale of the tape
Boldin (81): 6 foot 1, 220 pounds, 12th season, Florida State
Cromartie (31): 6 foot 2, 210 pounds, ninth season, Florida State
Boldin returns to face the Cardinals, the team for which he played his first seven NFL seasons. In December, in his first game back in the desert, he caught nine passes for 149 yards and a touchdown in a 49ers victory. After careful consideration, Jim Harbaugh recently revealed his new name for Boldin: Stalwart.
“Strong. Brave. I know there are a lot of definitions,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a medieval term, but I like all of the definitions. I like all of the words that define stalwart.”
Cromartie, a three-time Pro Bowl player, signed with the Cardinals in March, after four seasons with the New York Jets. He has 28 career interceptions, and is off to a good start with the Cardinals with two passes broken up. He has given up just three receptions for 20 yards through two games, according to Pro Football Focus.
While a lot of attention will be focused on Michael Crabtree and Patrick Peterson, make no mistake, Boldin and Cromartie are the better players. This all-Florida State matchup involves two veteran players who are not over-hyped first-round draft picks. In clutch situations, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has routinely targeted Crabtree without much success. Boldin needs to become the focal point of the passing game.